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In 2019, American Airlines and British Airways announced that the two airlines would co-locate under one roof at New York JFK. Now, three years later, the two airlines have finally moved in together.
This is fantastic news for travelers as it makes connections between the two airlines much easier. And it's even better news for Oneworld elite frequent flyers and for those traveling on eligible business and first class tickets.
As part of the move, American Airlines and British Airways opened three joint premium lounges at the airport — including a brand-new business and first class lounge. The new premium travel experience is accompanied by an expanded business and first class check-in facility.
Here's what travelers need to know about the new American Airlines and British Airways premium traveler experience at New York-JFK.
American Airlines and British Airways Partnership at New York JFK Terminal 8
With New York-JFK serving as an important hub for both American Airlines and British Airways, there has always been a focus on the premium travel experience at the airport. However, it wasn't until now that American Airlines and British Airways operated from the same terminal at the airport.
With the two airlines operating under one roof, sweeping changes have been made to the experience offered to the two airlines' most loyal frequent flyers and those traveling in premium cabins.
American Airlines and British Airways Premium Check-In at New York JFK
Eligible travelers will now have access to a much larger premium check-in facility at the airport. The new joint premium check-in facility closely resembles what is offered to premium cabin passengers at British Airways' home terminal at London Heathrow.
Eligible travelers enjoy access to an exclusive and luxe facility located in Terminal 8. The new premium check-in facility features check-in desks where travelers can sit and relax during the check-in process. Additionally, travelers with access to this new facility can use a dedicated fast-track security area.
Travelers with access to the SoHo Lounge and Chelsea Lounge (see more about these below) can access the new premium check-in facilities. Details about who can access the new Terminal 8 lounges are provided further on in this post. It's worth noting that the new premium check-in facilities replace the existing Flagship Check-In area at the airport.
The improvements do not end at check-in. More noteworthy are the three new lounges offered to eligible travelers: The Greenwich Lounge, the SoHo Lounge, and the Chelsea Lounge. Here's what travelers can expect from each lounge.
Three New Premium Lounges in JFK Terminal 8
With British Airways and American Airlines now under one roof at New York-JFK, the two airlines have opened three new joint premium lounges. With the two airlines operating some of their most important routes from the airport, it's no surprise that they sought to expand their lounge offerings at the airport.
These three new lounges better position American Airlines and British Airways to serve the massive demand for premium travel on flights between the US and Europe. However, not every lounge offers the same amenities. So, who can access these new lounges, and what will travelers expect during their visit?
Greenwich Lounge (former Flagship Lounge)
The most accessible and least luxe lounge is the Greenwich Lounge. The Greenwich Lounge is also the only lounge that is not entirely new. The Greenwich Lounge was previously the American Airlines Flagship Lounge. From what we can tell, very little has changed aside from a new name. Here's what travelers can expect at the new business class lounge in Terminal 8.
Travelers can expect the same services and amenities previously found when the lounge operated under the Flagship moniker. American Airlines' website continues to use an image of the lounge from when it debuted as the Flagship Lounge. However, this is not a bad thing as American Airlines' JFK Flagship Lounge was a solid business class lounge.
The Greenwich Lounge is generously sized and features plenty of amenities. These amenities include:
- Self-serve chef-inspired meals
- Premium wine table
- Self-service specialty cocktail bar
- Shower suites
- Quiet areas
- Phone booths
While there are no new amenities at the lounge, the Greenwich Lounge is a solid business class lounge. Additionally, the lounge's access policy is fairly relaxed, especially for Oneworld elite frequent flyers.
Who Can Access the Greenwich Lounge?
The access policy for the Greenwich Lounge is unchanged from when it was the Flagship Lounge. As such, here are the travelers that are eligible for Greenwich Lounge access:
- American Airlines: Passengers traveling in Flagship Business or Flagship First on a qualifying same-day international or transcontinental itinerary or qualifying flights to/from Hawaii
- British Airways: Any passenger with access to British Airways Club Lounges
- Oneworld partners: Business and first class passengers traveling on a Oneworld partner airline to an international destination
Eligible Elite Travelers:
- American Airlines: Travelers holding AAdvantage Platinum status on eligible flights, including any Flagship international flight or international long-haul flight operated by Oneworld partners.
- Alaska Airlines: Travelers holding MVP Gold status on eligible flights, including any Flagship international flight or international long-haul flight operated by Oneworld partners
- Oneworld: Other Oneworld airline passengers with Sapphire status traveling on any flight operated by a Oneworld partner airline.
- Travelers with ConciergeKey status
The first truly new lounge in this list, the SoHo Lounge, is a new business class lounge concept. It is a slight improvement over the former Flagship Lounge but features many of the same amenities. Though the SoHo Lounge only features a few added amenities, access is more limited. As a whole, the SoHo Lounge is the more premium of the two joint business class lounges.
The most noteworthy added amenity is a la carte dining. According to American Airlines, a la carte dining is available throughout the lounge, with guests having the ability to place orders using their mobile devices. Of course, the lounge also features self-serve dining and drink options.
Here is the full list of amenities that SoHo Lounge guests can expect during their visit:
- Chef-inspired meals
- A la carte dining
- Cocktail tastings
- Work pods
- Sleep / quiet area
- Phone booths
- Shower suites
Who Can Access the SoHo Lounge?
With the SoHo Lounge serving as a more premium alternative to the Greenwich Lounge, the access policy is more limited, with passengers accessing the lounge with a ticket being limited to eligible first class passengers. However, the access policy for travelers with elite status is also more limited.
- British Airways: Any passenger with access to British Airways First Lounges
- Oneworld partners: First Class passengers traveling on a Oneworld partner airline from the U.S. to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, and South America
Eligible Elite Travelers:
- American Airlines: Travelers holding AAdvantage Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum status on eligible flights, including any Flagship international flight or international long-haul flight operated by Oneworld partners.
- Alaska Airlines: Travelers holding MVP Gold 75K status on eligible flights, including any Flagship international flight or international long-haul flight operated by Oneworld partners.
- Oneworld: Other Oneworld airline passengers with Emerald status traveling on any flight operated by a Oneworld partner airline.
- Passengers with ConciergeKey status
American Airlines and British Airways' new first class lounge, the Chelsea Lounge, is a major upgrade over existing first class facilities found at New York-JFK's Terminal 8. Previously, the only exclusive area for eligible first class passengers in the terminal was American Airlines Flagship First Dining in the former Flagship Lounge. So, a dedicated space that goes beyond just dining options for eligible first class passengers is a huge improvement.
The most exclusive lounge, the space is smaller, more intimate, and features added amenities. The two most noteworthy amenities are the champagne bar and fireside seating. However, the lounge as a whole will feel more premium than the two lounges previously covered in this post.
The exclusive Chelsea Lounge features the following amenities:
- A la carte dining with meals prepared in conjunction with the James Beard Foundation
- Champagne bar
- Hand-crafted cocktails
- Fireside lounge
- Relaxation area
- Shower suites
- Personalized service
In addition to the champagne lounge and fireside lounge, one of the more exciting amenities is the super luxe dining experience. American Airlines and British Airways partnered with the James Beard Foundation to curate the menu at the Chelsea Lounge. There's no doubt that this lounge will offer some of the best cuisine found post-security at any airport.
Who Can Access the Chelsea Lounge?
As the most exclusive and premium lounge on this list, access is harder to come by when compared to the Greenwich and SoHo Lounges. Here are the travelers that will be able to access this luxe facility:
- American Airlines: Passengers who booked a Flagship Business Plus fare or that are traveling in Flagship First on a qualifying same-day international or transcontinental flight
- British Airways: Any passenger with access to British Airways Concorde Room
Eligible Elite Travelers:
- Passengers with ConciergeKey status on eligible Flagship-marketed flights
For a more detailed overview of who has access based on elite status, check out American Airlines' dedicated landing page.
The Bottom Line
American Airlines and British Airways continue to maintain one of the strongest partnerships of any two airlines. It was no surprise when the two airlines announced that British Airways would eventually join American Airlines at New York-JFK's Terminal 8. However, British Airways' move provided more for travelers than just streamlined connections.
Three new joint premium lounges have just opened to travelers. The lounges, operated by American Airlines and British Airways, appear to be some of the best lounges in the United States. This is no surprise as the two airlines operate some of their most premium routes from New York-JFK.
Of course, not all travelers will see the inside of these lounges. Travelers will need to hold eligible business or first class tickets or Oneworld elite status. If you're lucky enough to have access to one of these three lounges, you'll be in for a treat with premium dining, drinks, and other amenities.
Are you planning on visiting one of the new premium lounges at New York-JFK? What lounge are you most excited about?
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